Perioral Dermatitis: Rash Around The Mouth

perioral dermatitisPerioral dermatitis, or simply “rash around the mouth,” is a type of skin inflammation (dermatitis) that occurs in areas around the mouth. Afflicted areas could be the nose borders, the chin area, the corners of the mouth, even the skin around the eyes. Perioral dermatitis effects young to middle-aged women. Men suffer less from this type of skin inflammation.

As with other types of dermatitis, the cause of perioral dermatitis is not yet known, and it is still the subject of clinical study. There are those that say the redness is a form of rosacea (facial erythyma or redness). Others attribute the cause to the use of steroidal creams that have fluoride. Products containing fluoride, including toothpaste are also suspects. In women, some believe that the hormonal changes caused by the use of the contraceptive pill are connected with skin inflammation. Still others maintain that the skin reacts adversely to certain ingredients found in toothpaste, makeup, moisturizers and sunscreens.

Some common “culprits” believed to cause a rash around the mouth include petrolatum, sodium lauryl sulfate, paraffin and isopropyl myristate, which may be found in cosmetics, detergents, soaps, even products made of elastic, latex, and rubber. Also, drooling and saliva can be underlying reasons or causes of excessive irritation.

If you think you have this type of skin inflammation around your mouth, you may experience some or all of these symptoms below:

Small red or pink bumps forming on the areas immediately outside the lips (these bumps may be filled with pus).

Acne-like bumps or patched of clustered red or pink bumps on the area around the mouth.

Slight to severe skin peeling in the area around the mouth.

A mild itching and burning feeling from the persistent rash around the mouth or lips.

If left untreated, the condition can become chronic and last for many years. With the proper treatment, however, the rashes can diminish in as little as five days to one week.

As with all forms of rash treatment, the first step is to stop using products which may be potential rash triggers. After eliminating these causes, your doctor may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics for your condition. Steroids are generally not used for this due the fact they can be a precipitating factor.

Also some people get cold sores a little below the lip and that is due to a virus called herpes simplex virus 1 that can be treated with an over the counter medication or prescription.

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